J&K: Curfew imposed, internet suspended following communal tensions
Authorities have imposed a curfew in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the army has been called in to carry out a flag march in Doda district's Bhaderwah town in response to attempts by some elements to incite communal unrest. Meanwhile, the government has snapped mobile internet in some districts of the union territory, including its capital Srinagar, as a precautionary measure.
As per officials, a curfew was imposed in Bhaderwah town on Thursday (June 9) evening, after tensions arose due to an allegedly inflammatory video against a particular community. They said the army was thereafter called in to conduct a flag march. Meanwhile, a curfew was also imposed in Downtown Srinagar and the Kishtwar district as a precaution, as per the district administration.
The police said action has been taken and a case has been registered over the aforementioned video at the Bhaderwah Police Station. "The case was registered under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation)," said Police Media Centre, Jammu.
According to reports, internet services have been halted as a precautionary measure in Doda's Bhaderwah, Kishtwar, and sections of Srinagar. On Friday, mobile internet was suspended in practically all of Kashmir. Downtown Srinagar was completely shut down, but Kashmir's economic hubs Lal Chowk and Batamaloo witnessed some traffic. At the time of writing, no untoward incidents have been recorded in the Valley.
Officials alleged inflammatory speeches were made during a protest against the recent derogatory remarks by former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Muhammad. Sharma was suspended by the BJP on Sunday, while its Delhi unit's media cell head Naveen Jindal was also expelled for his derogatory tweet. The purported video, which went viral on social media, was reportedly shot from a mosque in Bhaderwah.
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Science and Technology, expressed great concern over the situation in Bhaderwah. "I appeal to the elders and the heads of the two communities to sit together to maintain the traditional harmony...which the beautiful town of Bhaderwah is known for (sic)," the BJP MP from Udhampur said on Twitter.
Reacting to the incident, former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference Vice-President Omar Abdullah appealed to the people to maintain peace. He posted on Twitter that even without the communal tension spreading in and around Bhaderwah, there is a lot of trouble in J&K. He appealed to all parties to maintain peace and his party workers to help normalize the situation at the earliest.